“Is Richlite really paper?”
Richlite is an incredibly durable, extremely versatile, and highly sustainable material made from resin-infused paper. Originally developed over 70 years ago for industrial tooling and pattern making, Richlite has expanded into a premium surface material used in the aerospace, marine, action sports, culinary, architecture, and design industries, and in machine shops and automotive manufacturing. Handmade from many layers of high quality custom craft paper, Richlite’s surface texture comes from the natural variation in the way fibers lay within the paper. Composed of approximately 65% FSC®-certified or recycled paper content and 35% phenolic resin, Richlite’s color comes from a combination of the paper and the amber tone of the resin.
A signature mottled appearance and warmth complement Richlite’s range of interior and exterior applications including furniture, cabinetry, cladding, skateparks, consumer products, signage, retail displays, restaurant tables, bar tops, and worktops, and for industrial use in die stock, silent gears, and foundry patterns. Dense and durable, yet easily tooled, pleasing to the eye, and with its smooth, natural aesthetic, Richlite has become a choice material for a wide range of architects, designers, industrial manufacturers and product developers. From guitar fret boards, culinary cutting surfaces, skateparks, mobile phone cases, industrial tooling molds, and router blocks, Richlite can be found in a wide range of products and industries.
Features and Benefits
With many inherent advantages, Richlite continues to be utilized for its versatile range of features and benefits. Unlike stone or a solid surface, Richlite works similar to a dense hardwood and can be easily milled, sanded, routed, and joined. Richlite is water-resistant, sanitary, has low moisture absorption, heat and fire resistant, extraordinarily dense and durable, and has a natural appeal due to its paper construction.
High impact resistance, deflective & flexural strength and structural capabilities make Richlite an extremely durable material.
Dense, consistent and without voids, Richlite is an ideal machinable material for drilling, tapping, tooling and complex patterns.
From 100% recycled products to waste-to-energy (WE™) technology, Richlite makes an obvious sustainable choice.
Richlite’s distinctive look and feel provides for a unique tactile experience.
Available in colors whose names reflect natural landmarks near the company headquarters in the Pacific Northwest.
Richlite’s original color, Natural, and the milestone products of Slate and r50 represent the company’s rich history.
Inspired by the Cascade Range, this collection is a ‘layered line’ including bamboo-embedded Stratum.
Straight out of the press and on to your application. No applied finish needed to appreciate our mill texture.
Keeps the texture of Richlite, but an added applied finish enriches the color and adds a layer of protection.
Looking for more of a satin look? A simple sanding process and an applied finish will achieve our honed look.
**These are finishes that can be achieved by a professional millworker / fabricator.**
The process of creating Richlite is both simple and complex. Rolls of paper are saturated with a thermosetting resin before being cut to length and laid up by hand. Each sheet is carefully stacked, and the direction of the paper alternated, creating the ultimate balance and stability. The stacks are then pressed under even heat and pressure, which bonds the layers of paper together and cures the resin. Slowly cooled, the cured panels produce a solid, stable sheet of material. Richlite can be pressed in many various sizes and thicknesses, from ¼” (6mm) to 3” (75mm) thick and sheet sizes up to 5’x12’ (3660 x 1525mm).
Founded in 1943 in the Pacific Northwest, Richlite was originally used for machine tooling by the aerospace industry. Eventually the paper-composite material was adopted by the commercial food industry due to its sanitary and durable qualities. Richlite was embraced by the marine industry due to its water-resistant construction, and the action sports industry for use in building skateparks. In the early 2000’s, the architecture and design community began to utilize Richlite for numerous interior and exterior applications. Today Richlite is widely used in consumer products and still in use as an industrial material.
Frequently Asked Questions
Richlite specializes in the manufacture of natural fiber composites. Richlite is primarily paper treated with phenolic resin and baked to create a solid sheet…
By the technical definition of solid surface: no. Most solid surface materials combine two main ingredients: a natural mineral (the “filler”) and a resin (the “binder”)…
It’s significantly harder than wood but like most countertop materials, can, under force, be scratched or gouged. Richlite countertops should not be used as a cutting surface…
Yes. Richlite is classified green in large part because the predominate raw material is derived from renewable or recycled resources. Managed and sustainable forests, habitat conservation efforts…